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By Diana Nutting

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According to a recent report by the consulting company McKinsey( http://digbig.com/5baghn ) companies which use social media or Web 2.0 technology in order to promote knowledge sharing and collaboration are more likely to reap benefits than those who use the technology as a marketing channel. McKinsey surveyed 1,700 executives for the study. They were asked about the value they have realised from their Web 2.0 deployments in three main areas: within their organizations; externally, in their relations with customers; and in their dealings with suppliers, partners, and outside experts. It was found that across all geographies and industries, a greater proportion of respondents whose organisations had deployed Web 2.0 ‘for internal purposes’ said they had achieved at least one measurable benefit than those who had deployed the technology ‘for customer purposes’. The most widely adopted Web 2.0 technology was video sharing, followed by blogs and RSS feeds. The highest rated benefits of internal Web 2.0 were increasing the speed of access to knowledge, reducing communication costs and increasing the speed of access to internal experts. For marketing-related deployments, top benefits were increasing marketing effectiveness, increasing customer satisfaction and cutting customer costs. Their responses suggest why Web 2.0 remains of high interest: 69 percent of respondents report that their companies have gained measurable business benefits, including more innovative products and services, more effective marketing, better access to knowledge, lower cost of doing business, and higher revenues. Companies that made greater use of the technologies, the results show, report even greater benefits. McKinsey also looked closely at the factors driving these improvements—for example, the types of technologies companies are using, management practices that produce benefits, and any organizational and cultural characteristics that may contribute to the gains. They found that successful companies not only tightly integrate Web 2.0 technologies with the work flows of their employees but also create a “networked company,” linking themselves with customers and suppliers through the use of Web 2.0 tools.


 

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Diana Nutting is a freelance information and knowledge management consultant, specialising in company and market information. She was previously Head of Information Strategy and Development at Business Link for London, where she was responsible for market intelligence, website content, customer research and knowledge management. Diana started her career as an academic librarian, before moving into market intelligence at, among others, Unilever and Parcelforce. She serves on the National Council of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

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